Sgt Hulka says: It Only Hurts When You Laugh


"I'm gonna go out on a limb here. I'm gonna volunteer my leadership to this platoon. An army without leaders is like a foot without a big toe. And Sergeant Hulka isn't always gonna be here to be that big toe for us. I think that we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe... Sergeant Hulka."  (Cub fan, Bill Murray as John Winger, Stripes. 1981) 


This team needs a kick in the pants. Unfortunately, it won't be Ryan Dempster to administer the sorely needed swift one.  It's hard to do that when your foot hurts because you acted like a knucklehead tripping over a dugout fence and injuring your big toe. Accidents happen. Anyone with a broken toe knows how painful it is. Typically, they don't need an orthopod to treat this injury and the pain usually subsides in 1-3 weeks depending on how bad the toenail injury is. Of course, running and pitching may be a problem if swelling, which can persists for months, leads to problems wearing shoes. I just hope it doesn't lead to ruining his pitching mechanics and the ever dreaded career altering sore shoulder.

I can't recall an exact comparable injury but I did remember when Sammy Sosa had an infected right big toe nail and had the nail removed surgically back in 2003. He was on the DL from May 10th to May 30th (essentially 3 weeks). Unfortunately it's a little harder to assess how Sammy did upon his return because his corked bat episode happened 4 days later leading to an 8 game suspension.

It was quite the media feeding frenzy when the Dempster news broke. Here's how he 'splained the accident:

Sunday after the game, I was coming out of the dugout and I was stepping over the top of the railing and I caught my left foot on the rail as I was coming over," Dempster said. "It spun me around and slammed me into the ground. When I did it, I thought I ripped my nail back on my foot. Unfortunately, the result wasn't funny."

Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee was laughing when he saw Dempster's awkward fall.

"I'm sure it looked hysterical from his angle," Dempster said. "The unfortunate part is my foot, because of the way it hit, came down straight into the ground. My toenail was ripped back and bleeding."

The team knew the toe was injured (click this link only if you're not squeemish) but as of tuesday morning Dempster thought his ouchie would just need something to numb it so he could pitch but (as a good trainer should) they took an X-Ray which showed a hairline fracture. So tuesday became another day of roster scramble including making sure Carlos Zambrano was OK with pitching on 3 days rest.

When asked about an estimate of how long the injury should take to recover, manager Lou Piniella quoted his head trainer, Mark O'Neal who apparently told the skipper 3-4 weeks. Seems about right to me.

As a sidebar, according to WSCR's field reporter David Schuster, after the Dempster news the media bunch all went out to the dugout to reinact Demp's crime, CSI style. As Schuster tells, Tribune reporter Paul Sullivan was the media's fall guy and almost killed himself... but the entourage now believes that one could break something falling over the dugout fence. Ah, for a photo of Sully falling on his noggin in front of the dugout.

Geovanny Soto's ribcage injury while taking batting practice earlier today caused him to be pulled from the lineup and is being evaluated with an MRI. The muscles involved are called internal/external obliques which attach around the lower rib cage. It's an area in the body that isn't helped by much except for supportive treatment (mostly rest) and can take anything from a few days off up to a month. Cardinal all-everything Albert Pujols had an oblique injury leading to a DL stint in June 06. He was out from June 3rd to June 23rd (3 weeks).

Oddly enough, Ryan Dempster was on the 15 day DL with an oblique strain on June 26th, 2007. Rembering that Dempster was the team's closer in 2007, he was out of action from June 23rd until returning on July 21st (4 weeks).

As to planning for a Soto absence, I'll dredge up a recollection of the post Michael Barrett era. The Cubs went most of the summer of 2007 with the catching tandem of Koyie Hill and Rob Bowen. They did a nice job of catching and game-calling but couldn't hit a lick. Of course this year is different. "Not hitting a lick" seems to be the team modus operandi.

Treatment of oblique injuries includes not telling jokes around the injured player, cause it only hurts when...


George: "You know how the big toe is the captain of the toes, but sometimes the toe next to the big toe gets so big that there's a power struggle and the second toe assumes control of the foot."

Jerry: "The coup de toe!"

Sorry, dudes, saying this again cuz I am fucking disgusted:

I am a Cubs fan. I truly am.

I have watched Andre Dawson run into the well and dig it out, and Sammy, too.

I am not going to go into some old dude poetic thing. For me, it's really fucking simple.

Hendry needs to go, because our outfield is the joke of the NL. Nobody can even field the fucking position, much less fucking hit.

This is fucking ridiculous.

I am beyond pissed. I don't even fucking watch this joke of a team any more.

That's a pity because you could have seen Milton making a leaping catch against the wall Monday.

what inning? I want fucking proof. I am an MLB.TB sugarscrbiber. Don't fuck with me, asshole, just don't! smiley face dude is here somewherez

Err... I can't find it. Maybe it was Tuesday night's game. We mentioned it in Parachat... so it must have been Monday, though.

The injury this is most reminiscent of to me is Remlinger's (it was him wasn't it?) fighting the lounge and the lounge won.

It reminds me of when Kyle Farnsworth got in a fight with an electric fan and hurt his knee.

Bruce Levine blog update on Soto:

The injury is said to be in the soft tissue under the left side "love handle."

It appears catching and throwing will not be a problem for Soto. The key for him returning to the field and staying off of the DL will be if he can swing the bat without pain and avoid reaggravating the injury.

Infielder/outfielder Jake Fox, a converted catcher, could back up Koyie Hill over the weekend if Soto can't go.

"I've got my gear ready," Fox told me after Wednesday's game.

I've never seen Fox catch, but I've read enough TCR to know that sounds like trouble. Anyone have any insight? What can and can't he do?

Can you believe the Cardinals' team leader in steals is Pujols? Although that's partly just from being on base so much, Brendan Ryan is probably a more formidable threat.

I've said it a million times. Any team that has Pujols has a chance to win. He's the only big gamer I know of.

"I've got my gear ready,"

Hey, Sarge, is your rear guard protected? Cuz these dudes are gonna chase you down to the point you'll wish you're a goat in a chapel full of wasps.

I love the Google ads in the left sidebar that come up with this article:

Podiatrist (x2), "European Foot & Ankle" & "Toe Nail Fungus"

Yes, everyone in the world knows Jake Fox is a defensive liability. And if you've been around TCR for more than 15 minutes you know I'm huge into defense. Still, I let Jake Fox back up Koyie Hill until Jake Fox's defense loses a game. Give the guy a chance. He's not the most athletic guy in the world, but he's beefy and willing to give you 100%.

Until his defense costs us a game or the other team sets a NL record for most steals in a single game...

If Soto's not going to play, I've got no problem with him playing back there. Might not be a bad place to hide him for a team that can't score. I've said the opposite about the catcher spot in the past, but our teams were actually successful at making the scoreboard read a number greater than 3 when I said that stuff.

i kinda don't mind k.hill's bat or defense.

better D than soto...less power and overall hitting upside, but not a wreck at the plate. i'd rather have soto, but hill has at least shown he has a clue at the plate even if he's not an ideal starter type.

I love the Google ads in the left sidebar
former Cub batboy? I thought Skippy retired.

close ending to the Stl/Milw game:

bottom 8th, brewers take the lead on an infield single by Prince Fielder

top 9th: Schumaker leads off with double off Trevor Hoffman (throwing mostly 73 mph changeups), Rasmus K'd, Pujols intentional BB, Ludwick pops up to Kendall who almost overran the ball and fell flat out backwards on his ass...

two outs vs Duncan, 3-1 count then swing strike on a changeup before ball four and bags loaded.

Molina grounds out to third, unassisted force.

Final 5-4 Milwaukee


Phillies, Cardinals and Rangers all with "real" interest...

from MLBTR link...

According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals' interest in Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay is very real.

Here's what Strauss tweeted just a moment ago: Asked about the price tag for Halladay, a club source said: "Give Ricciardi all our minor-league rosters and let him circle any 5 names."

was that club source a large vodka with club soda?

I also saw a story in the L.A. Times yesterday or the day before stating the Angels might have finally found a player they're willing to trade their prospects for. The article said they want an insurance policy on Lackey becoming a free agent.

Halladay + NTC /= TEX

Halladay as this year's CC? Can't see it, but I can see Z going on short rest after the break. It's do or die, unless Jeff S can be Mr durable and earn that singing bonus money! But firs, my furry friends, we must find a way to pitch at Puo-joels' toes and seee how it feel to celebrate a win.

i hope home run harden can pull it together during all this...and wells can continue doing whatever he's doing.

The Sunday day/night tilt will test both pens I'm sure. If Fox is going to be catcher # 2, he will likely see action that day. It's a scary thought but so is throwing Clevenger or Robinson into the fray. Looks like Lohse is making his first start off the dl this weekend, let's hope the Cubs take advantage of knocking at least that guy and Thompson around.

unless Jeff S can be Mr durable and earn that singing bonus money!

If the Cubs are relying on Jeff Samardzija for anything this season they are in even bigger trouble than I thought.

Y! reporting that BJ Ryan was released by the Jays.

from the tribune...

The matchups for the first two games of the Cubs-Cardinals showdown are Rich Harden vs. Chris Carpenter on Friday

and Ted Lilly vs. Brad Thompson on Saturday.

Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse will pitch in Sunday's day-night doubleheader, though the order was not announced. Randy Wells pitches Game 1, with Zambrano going in the nightcap.

Did your source say WHICH Rich Harden?

Did your source say WHICH Rich Harden?
Harden might be the starting catcher

"It's like driving to Wisconsin."

"Sammy did upon his return because his corked bat episode happened 4 days later leading to an 8 game suspension" and more juiced then an East German woman shot putter.

" tripping over a dugout fence "
Rob G can you give this the Mamol photoshop treatment and put a gun in the kids hand pointing at Dempster, that way it looks like a little more macho of an injury.

"It's like driving to Wisconsin."

I once got my ass kicked in Wisconsin.

Sori's upset because Lou didn't TELL HIM he wouldn't be in the lineup yesterday, ahead of time.

"That's why I'm mad," Soriano said. "If he had told me yesterday, then I wouldn't come today ready to play."

Shut the fuck up and come ready to play every day, just like Hill and Hoffpauir and all the other Cubs.

Wow, Soriano should thank his lucky stars that Lou is managing him rather than me.

If he doesn't want to be part of the team...

A real team player that Soriano...

"If he had told me yesterday, then I wouldn't come today ready to play."

You have been ready to play for the last two months?

Did one of the clubhouse guys should switch his shoes with MB's? Must be some virus going around.

I don't recall Bradley saying anything of the sort this year.

not Bradley's comment...was Soriano's comment about Bradley after the tantrum at Comiskular. Sori's wearing a pair of Primadonna shoes?

Might have also been worn by Dempster when he fell over the fence. Lets get these guys some of these:

You really screwed that metaphor up.

Being mad about not being told you're not in the lineup (when you're usually told) is really dumb (telling the press is dumber), but it doesn't mean he's not a team player. Though I suppose one could argue that any time someone says something along the lines of what Soriano did say -- or that he needs to be told in the first place -- it means he's not all about the team.

Complaining that he should be in the lineup over someone else (or coming right out and saying, "I refuse to bat anywhere but leadoff or else") would be a better example of that, IMHO.

it does mean he should have never opened his stupid mouth after Bradley's flare up I(and others) were saying.

Soriano is just as full of shit as Bradley.

Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus on clairvoyance as well as Soto's injury:

The first comment yesterday asking me about Soto came twelve minutes after Soto's injury, an apparent oblique strain. In that twelve minutes, Soto had been examined by the team's trainers, walked back to the training room, and as best I can tell was lying on his side with ice on his injury when I was asked what was wrong. I'm a reporter, not Miss Cleo, people. At this stage, I have neither contacts with info on this or context for what happened, the two things I rely on to do what I do. Soto injured himself on a normal batting-practice swing, and seemed to respond well afterwards. The mild strain will keep him out for a couple games, and with the All-Star break coming up, the Cubs might elect to let him rest through it with Koyie Hill handling most of the catching, with Jake Fox in reserve.

and one more WC (Baseball Prospectus) update, this one on Mark DeRosa which sounds pretty pessimistic (est. 4-8 weeks) as DeRo's wrist injury apparently comps with what David Ortiz went thru last year (out 7 weeks):

You wouldn't think that Mark DeRosa and David Ortiz would have much in common. Sure, they're both baseball players, but not similar in style or skill. I think both would rather that they didn't share a common injury, the torn tendon sheath in their wrist. It's one that is both painful and lingering, but DeRosa's not a power-only guy. Unlike Ortiz, he can go up there and be a bit slappy and still be effective. The wrist won't affect him in the field or on the bases, so this isn't as devastating an injury for him as it was last year for Ortiz. It's still not good, though and DeRosa is looking at anywhere from four to eight weeks off. (Ortiz was out seven weeks, for the record, and certainly affected the rest of the season.) I'd guess the low end of that, coming back in early August. Cards fans are already e-mailing asking if the trade can be voided; the answer is a simple 'no.' DeRosa doesn't seem to have any pre-existing indications, let alone the injury itself, and they passed him on his physical when accepting him. This is just bad luck on the Cards' part, and they'll just have to regroup around what looked like a great acquisition.

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  • Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-

    J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:

    Ryno 1 min 51 sec ago view
  • Sigh.

    Ok... maybe.

    Ryno 28 min ago view
  • With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?

    bradsbeard 30 min 2 sec ago view
  • Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.

    Hagsag 33 min 7 sec ago view
  • This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.

    The E-Man 36 min 21 sec ago view
  • This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.

    johann 1 hour 56 min ago view
  • CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now. 

    LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.  

    RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.   

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 5 min ago view
  • AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).

    I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):  

    * bats or throws left 
    # bats both

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 33 min ago view
  • Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.

    Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 55 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season  either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.

    Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.  

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 1 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 3 hours 30 min ago view
  • Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.

    Send Soler down!

    Old and Blue 4 hours 24 min ago view
  • Awesome thanks AZ

    Old and Blue 4 hours 26 min ago view
  • Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.

    John Beasley 5 hours 16 min ago view
  • Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!

    Hagsag 8 hours 4 min ago view
  • given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.

    i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.

    crunch 9 hours 17 min ago view